Many people with disabilities depend on service or therapy dogs in order to live happier, more productive lives. However, there is often some confusion as to whether service or therapy dogs need certification. Knowing the answer to this question can make things much easier for the disabled who use dogs.
What Are Service Dogs?
Service dogs are trained to perform special tasks that a person with a disability cannot do without assistance. Seeing eye dogs are among the most well-known types of service dogs. Some of the tasks that service dogs may perform include:
- Helping blind people navigate their way out in public
- Detecting oncoming seizures and protecting the owner until help arrives
- Helping depression patients remember to take their medication
- Letting diabetics know when they have blood sugar issues
- Preventing owners from having anxiety attacks
People who use service dogs are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. These dogs receive thorough training when obtained through organizations that help the disabled, however, a certificate or registration is not required. Workplaces and businesses must accommodate employees or customers using service dogs. Part of this protection includes disabled people being able to enter places with their dog without being asked for a certificate or other proof.
How Are Therapy Dogs Different?
Therapy dogs are trained to provide affection and comfort to individuals in places like retirement homes, nursing homes, hospitals, hospices, schools and to people with autism.
Because of their lack of specified tasks, these dogs don't have the same access or legal protection that service dogs do. Permission should be obtained before bring a therapy dog into a facility. Also, registration or certification is not required of your therapy dog, however, many facilities will require them to be certified or registered with a therapy dog organization.